Turkey's Premier Erdogan underlines importance of boosting cooperation with Iraq

Turkey's Premier Erdogan underlines importance of boosting cooperation with Iraq

Turkey's prime minister on Monday underlined importance of boosting cooperation with Iraq, Anadolu News Agency reported.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said improvement of cooperation between Turkey and Iraq was of key importance for the stability and prosperity of the region.

"We are aiming to turn Mesopotamia basin into a common stability and prosperity area with the projects we will put into service in fields extending from energy to trade, health to public works and water resources to transportation," Erdogan told reporters at Ankara's Esenboga Airport prior to his departure for Iraq.

Erdogan said State Minister Zafer Caglayan, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Energy & Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz would accompany him during his 2-day visit to Iraq covering Baghdad, Najaf and Irbil.

Erdogan said he would meet with Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Parliament Speaker Osama Nuceyfi and several political party leaders and would address the business forum which would be attended by Turkish and Iraqi businessmen.

Erdogan said he would later proceed to Irbil and meet with Massoud Barzani, the head of regional administration in north of Iraq.

Prime minister said he would inaugurate Turkey's Consulate General which has been in service since March 2010, branch of Vakifbank in Irbil, and Irbil International Airport constructed by Turkish companies.

"Turkey has been pursuing an open and sincere foreign policy towards Iraq in the past 8 years. We tried to give the support that would ease the pains of our Iraqi brothers," he said.

Erdogan said support of Turkish government would continue to Iraqi government which has come to power at a historical time when Iraq re-gained its sovereignty and integrated with the international society.

Referring to his visit to Iraq on October 15, 2009, Erdogan said High Level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting had taken place and this was the start of a new period in relations between Turkey and Iraq.

"48 Memoranda of Understanding were signed, and thus ways were opened for a comprehensive economic integration. We target to re-structure relations with Iraq in the basis of a strategic perspective," Erdogan said adding that regional matters would also be discussed with the Iraqi authorities.

Erdogan said PKK terrorism stemming from north of Iraq and threatening Turkey would be one of the main topics that would be assessed with the Iraqi officials.

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